Chapter 38 Iron Ore
“In the Marquis mansion, no one escaped besides Shizi. The Liu family was broken and was purged within 15 days.”
Seeing Liu Zhongming gradually losing blood on his face, Qu Chenzhou looked away.
“My Lord, for the previous life, besides me, it has nothing to do with anyone else. With lessons learned, what happened in the past, this time, shouldn’t happen again.”
Although he knew that this was correct, that Qu Chenzhou’s experience had nothing to do with the present, this incident was still too terrifying. Liu Zhongming laid on the bed, having trouble sleeping.
Thinking from the perspective of Qu Chenzhou’s explanation for him, the people he saw in the past, the Emperor, Qi Wang, and Liao Guangming…all of them changed their faces.
It was as if the mist that had been shrouded in front of him before had been blown away. He followed the direction of Qu Chenzhou’s fingers and saw clearly that there were piles of bones stacked under the blooming peach blossoms.
It made his blood run cold.
He didn’t know when he fell asleep, but he knew clearly that he was dreaming again.
But this time, in his dream, there was no academy, no sunshine, no lingering, not even the demon pupils that disturbed him.
He actually dreamt of Bai Shiyan.
“Liu Zhongming! Stop for me!” The rain splashed with mud, raised by the horse under Bai Shiyan: “Why are you not waiting with your hands tied to be captured!”
The sword in his hand was so heavy that he couldn’t lift it up. He watched in horror as Bai Shiyan moved his spear and rode his horse.
This can’t be Bai Shiyan! Shi Yan grew up with him since childhood and never would confront him and there wouldn’t be so many flaws all over him!
It was like he was looking for death in front of him.
“Liu Zhongming!” Someone yelled at him, it was Fang Wuyang’s voice: “Do you want to die! Why aren’t you making a move yet! Do it!”
In a blink of an eye, Bai Shiyan galloped on his horse, close at hand. Being yelled at, demanding immediate action, the arrows were urgently nocked and the bow sounded three times.
He seemed to be frozen, watching Bai Shiyan swing his spear, hit two arrows, then have the third arrow pass through his chest. He fell from the horse in response, crawling in the mud.
In this way, he watched Fang Wuyang kill his closest friend in front of him.
Liu Zhongming heard the lament in his own hysteria, as if heaven and earth at this moment was spinning in reverse.
“Shizi, Shizi…” A soft voice gradually awakened his whole body that was twitching and trembling all over.
Liu Zhongming opened his eyes in his low choke, and saw Qu Chenzhou holding the candlestick, shaking him with one hand.
“Is Shizi caught in a nightmare?”
His dream was too terrible this time. Before he had time to think, he grabbed the corner of Qu Chenzhou’s clothes with one hand.
Being able to see a familiar person when he first awakened from his nightmare, he even had the urge to hug Qu Chenzhou fiercely.
But after his consciousness gradually returned, he slowly let go of his hand.
“I’m okay…it’s okay…”
After Liu Zhongming handed over his accounts book to pay respect to the palace, the eunuch immediately invited him in and he waited at Anyi Palace.
“Shizi, wait a moment, the Emperor and the imperial concubine are with the Empress Dowager. Once the Empress Dowager is resting, this slave will pass the message inside.”
The eunuch had been in the palace for many years. Knowing that Liu Zhongming often entered the palace since he was a child and had also been carried by the Empress Dowager, he smiled apologetically and asked one more question: “Or, I can go in now. The Empress Dowager also has not seen Shizi in a long while, she even was speaking of you a few days ago to us servants.”
“Thank you Gonggong for your kindness. It’s getting late. When the Emperor comes out and has his meal, the Empress Dowager should also take a lunch break. I will ask the Emperor for a favor today, and I will go to the palace to visit her another day.”
The eunuch smiled. Flicking the whisk in his hand, he bowed to him, then instructed the palace people to take care of him, and then retreated.
He didn’t enter Anyi Palace. Seeing that the weather outside was good, he stood in the corridor, looking at a cluster og orchids outside the white jade stone railing.
The dream last night was too terrifying. Until this morning, he could still clearly remember every detail in the dream, remember the flaws when Bai Shiyan shook his spear stabbing out, and even remembered the muddy splash when Bai Shiyan fell under his horse.
After waking up from the dream, he drove Qu Chenzhou back to the sarong, but he never fell asleep again. He waited for dawn with his eyes open.
If those realistic dreams left him at a loss, then the dreams of last night were enough to make him vigilant, especially after hearing Qu Chenzhou mention the end of the Liu family in his previous life.
He suspected that those things in his dream had really happened in the previous life of “Qu Chenzhou”.
But between these broken chapters, there was no clue that could make him link everything clearly.
Now he knew only two things. The first was that he fled in a hurry. Fang Wuyang was by his side, while Bai Shiyan came to chase him and died in front of him.
Although it can be inferred from Qu Chenzhou’s words that the Liu family did encounter misfortune, the cause and effect of the whole incident was completely unknown.
What happened to the Liu family because of the accident? How did he escape, and what happened afterwards——he was afraid that these problems cannot be inquired from “Qu Chenzhou”.
Second, if the dream was real, then he must have been intimate with a person before. But he couldn’t remember the person’s appearance, so he could only use Qu Chenzhou’s face instead.
This matter was confusing and he couldn’t see the outline.
Who was he so intimate with? Why did they meet at Jinxi Academy? Where did the person go after that?
There were two other key figures and he didn’t even see their faces.
Who was worthy of his jade pendant?
Who was the person who was talking to Yu Gonggong, the unknown Si Tian Guan?
Who would be the soul reborn in Qu Chenzhou’s body? Or could it be that there wasn’t?
Liu Zhongming couldn’t help sighing with emotion. He used to not believe in ghosts and gods, but now he smashed into a ghost wall and was circled without knowing where to go.
But if every sentence “Qu Chenzhou” said was so certain and so reasonable, he couldn’t not believe it. The visit to his sister in the palace this time was to verify whether the statement of “Qu Chenzhou” was true or false.
If his sister really dared not become pregnant because she couldn’t assume personal responsibility, his dependence on Qu Chenzhou might have to be raised.
On the bright side, it seemed that Qu Chenzhou had fallen into his hands and allowed him to knead him as he wished, but Liu Zhongming himself was very clear about the future situation.
If his sister’s affairs were confirmed, does he really want to follow Qu Chenzhou’s arrangements for everything?
Wouldn’t he become a pawn in Qu Chenzhou’s hands? But he couldn’t even see the way forward, instead, he was lost in nightmares time and time again.
Him and Qu Chenzhou, rather than cooperation, it was as if they had to rely on each other.
The most important thing was that he was still not sure whether Qu Chenzhou really wanted to help him, and why he wanted to help him.
A person who had been immersed in the palace for many years, and held Qu Chenzhou’s god-given eyes, will they really succumb to himself because of fear of death? What kind of grievances did he have with Huai Wang? Does this grudge have anything to do with the Liu family?
The more he thought about it, the more confused he became, and the waiting time became even more difficult. He even wondered if he would have the illusion that everyone was an enemy if he stayed alone like this.
There were rapid footsteps at the end of the veranda. He put away his look of confusion and annoyance. He watched the man trot to the front and received a bow, then he smiled: “Pan Gonggong.”
Pan He’s smooth and round face had a thin layer of sweat. He probably had come running from a distant place. After a short breath, he asked diligently, “Why is Shizi standing here?”
“The weather is just right, so I came to enjoy the breeze.” Liu Zhongming asked: “Is Gonggong on duty today? Where are you going in such a hurry?”
“Shizi.” Pan He smiled and gestured to the corner: “Please take a step forward to speak.”
Liu Zhongming understood, and walked to the corner to speak: “Is Gonggong’s goods ready? Don’t worry, the fleet will only set off at the end of the month and there is still time.”
“Thanking Shizi for the support.” Pan He’s face bloomed. Being able to receive last year’s benefits of running a boat and this year having a big backing, he almost took out all of his assets to purchase goods, and hoped that this time he would make double.
Hearing what Liu Zhongming said, he felt much more at ease. He took a step closer, and asked in a soft voice, “Shizi, in addition to this, there is something I wanted to ask. I heard someone say that you plan to change hands for the iron ore mine in Jingshan, is that right?”
Liu Zhongming’s heart jumped and he smiled calmly: “The news from Gonggong is really good, you are correct indeed.”
“This…why does Shizi want to sell it?”
“Mining is hard. Labor found doesn’t always stay long and managing it is too much trouble. I also had this idea a few years ago, but since this year there was some setback with Jiangnan silk, I need some turnover, so I’ll simply sell it.”
“This…” Pan He rubbed his hands and laughed: “Are there any sellers who you have spoken to?”
Liu Zhongming leaned on the guardrail, looking at him with a smile but not a smile, but his heart was like a stormy sea——even this can be foreseen. Qu Chenzhou was too godly.
“Why should I sell the iron ore to Pan He?” He asked Qu Chenzhou reluctantly a few days ago: “Are you so sure that he will buy it?”
“Because he is greedy.” Qu Chenzhou held the map. He didn’t know what was circled on it, he could only see red and black. Qu Chenzhou didn’t look up at him, “Anyways, it’s not like Shizi is lacking a mine, sell it to him cheaply.”
He was almost angered into laughing: “Why do I need to feed my mine to him? Just because he is greedy? Sell it cheaply? Do you think my silver gets washed in by a flood? Do you know how much that mine is worth? What do you want to do?”
Facing the string of questions, Qu Chenzhou was silent for a moment before answering: “Having Shizi sell the mine, I naturally have a plan, but I can’t say yet. If Shizi is distressed about the mining money, I can show Shizi a clear way to make money.”
“Go and buy the mass grave in the north of the city. It looks deserted, but in fact is held by the Minister of Revenue. You can buy it with just a few dollars.”
Liu Zhongming was dizzy.
The number of dead people buried in the mass graves was hundreds if not thousands. No matter how little money was spent, it would be a loss.
“Find some people to tidy up the land, plant some trees, and plant something expensive like Dalbergia. When someone comes to buy the mountain, you can sell it for several times the original cost.
“Qu Chenzhou.” He decided to educate this crappy businessman: “I have a lot of mountains that grow trees. People come to buy the wood. Who would buy the mountain altogether? How many times will it be doubled?
“There will be. Liao Guangming.”
Liu Zhongming was dumbfounded : “Why?”
Qu Chenzhou put down the map and explained to him: “Liao Guangming has a rival in the court, did you know?”
“This… I know. Nan Ya’s deputy commander Bo Yan.” Of course Liu Zhongming understood this.
“Yes, Liao Guangming and Bo Yan were originally Senior and Junior Brother. Now that each has an army in their palm, Liao Guangming had always been competing with that person. Seeing Jinxiuying and Nan Ya sixteen guards, which is more important in the eyes of the Emperor?”
“Mass graves, although unlucky, after a good dress up, is the best place from the capital for a military training ground.”
“Once Jinxiuying and Nan Ya start a conflict, Liao Guangming will want a military expansion and that would be the best choice.”
“At that time when you are asking for prices, Liao Guangming will pay any money on the spot.”
Liu Zhongming felt that he had lost.
Because he actually felt that although Qu Chenzhou’s words were exaggerated, it still made sense and he was easily persuaded.
“But with the Emperor watching from above, the two of them had always kept things small and had not had any major conflicts. Could it reach this level?”
“This,” Qu Chenzhou gave a natural smile: “Isn’t it just getting them to fight? I’m the best at this.”